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Subject: Feedback Request on a New Redesign rss

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Will Beckley
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Hey everyone,

So I've decided that there's nothing better to do than roll the rock uphill of a from-scratch redraw of 1889. I've actually had fun doing it so far (but the remaining work will be considerably less fun). Anyhow, I've reached a point where I want to see what people think.

The design, very obviously, is a (pale) imitation of Klemens Franz's recent work on 1844/1854. But apart from that choice, I'd like to see what people think and what people think I ought to change.

So with that, I offer my work so far.

The map:


And the tiles, not yet numbered. Eagled-eyed 1889 diehards will notice tiles not in the 1889 tileset. This is because I began my work from the tile manifest at 18xx.net, which it turns out is inaccurate.







I appreciate very much any words on what I've done so far. Encouragement as well as (potentially brutal) criticism.
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J C Lawrence
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Fades, particularly radial fades, do not help.
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Will Beckley
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clearclaw wrote:
Fades, particularly radial fades, do not help.


So I've seen you say before. Which element do you find potentially (or certainly) problematic? The only instances of anything akin to a radial fade are:

1. The shadow added to the cities (I think it makes them pop in a useful and non-distracting way; I'm prepared to hear contrary argument)

2. The glow around the City/Town names (which certainly aids readability against dark backgrounds)

3. The layers I used on the coastline (which oughtn't affect gameplay, I'd think)

4. The only true radial gradient, the likely-controversial color spots on cities, an element lifted from 1844/1854
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Bruce Murphy
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There's a reason that most games use a single clear letter-designation on special tiles. The colour spots on cities are awful, and the texture on the tiles is astonishing. I don't understand the need for a distracting fade around city circles.

I appreciate that you have not made the track itself awful.

Why distract from following track paths with cloudy texture? Where are the tile numbers? What does the blobby mountain picture add that a clearer symbol would not?

B>
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Will Beckley
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thepackrat wrote:
There's a reason that most games use a single clear letter-designation on special tiles.

Point well taken. It certainly became problematic in the browns especially.

thepackrat wrote:
The colour spots on cities are awful,

These were a flourish of Klemens Franz's that I liked, but I knew they'd not be super popular.

thepackrat wrote:
I don't understand the need for a distracting fade around city circles.

I think it makes them pop, and I don't believe them to be distracting. Not necessary, sure. But if they're actually detrimental, I'm actively seeking to understand the argument.

thepackrat wrote:
Why distract from following track paths with cloudy texture?

This is another element that I don't believe to be distracting. I'm likewise open to being convinced otherwise.

thepackrat wrote:
Where are the tile numbers?

As I stated in my initial post, they're simply not *yet* there. They are coming. As they aren't particularly a design element, I figured I could solicit feedback at this point.

Incidentally, I'm also trying to find a reliable source for proper orientation of numbered tiles. I know this is of concern to some, so I want to get it right. The tile manifest at the end of the rules will be my guide unless I find something better. The (inaccurate) manifest at 18xx.net doesn't always agree with the rules manifest, and the 1889-specific tiles are not included in the database at 18xx.info . I'd be happy if someone had another source for me to check against.

thepackrat wrote:
What does the blobby mountain picture add that a clearer symbol would not?

Visual interest and a stronger sense of place. Elements, I should say, that I don't think trump usability or legibility. So to turn your question around, does the "blobby mountain picture" make it more difficult for you to identify which hexes are mountain hexes than a triangle would?

thepackrat wrote:
I appreciate that you have not made the track itself awful.

Happy at least to have a nonzero batting average.
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Alex P
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The only thing I don't like is the fade around the city spaces. Otherwise the color inside is neat and the mountain spaces should be extremely visible - it may even cure blindness. And the slight fade behind the city names seem like they'd only add clarity.
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JR
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I think the map is fairly tastefully done, though I think the colours are too strong. I would consider the years of play testing and refining that has gone into the visual aspects of games printed by DTG, as I doubt anyone on the planet has as much time and effort invested in figuring out which visual choices are the most effective for the largest playing audience.

The tiles look pretty nice. The texturing of the backdrops seems unnecessary but not detrimental. I find the colour blurs in the city circles to be quite off-putting, however. Ditching those colour blobs in the station circles and lightening the board art a touch would make this a fair bit better IMO, but I already own a legit licensed copy so I'm not exactly the target demographic I suppose.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Keep in mind I'm an 18XX noob, so do not have the strongly-held preference for the super spare graphics common.

I agree with the criticism on the inner fade on the cities--those color spot are distracting & just don't look good IMHO. The outer fade is subtle and does help pop them--I like that. The background color texture is not needed & makes the tile look a bit muddy. The gray hexes on the map look more purple on my monitor. I'd also like to see slightly larger income numbers on the city tiles.

I'm also not a fan of the mountain image chosen. I don't necessarily suggest the typical simple triangle, but perhaps a different mountain image.
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I also dislike the gradient. It kind of hurts my eyes, like staring at a lightbulb, only obviously not as intense.

The tile texture is a bit muddy.

The base color of the map is too pink, and the grey tiles are very purple.

The mountain symbol is unpleasantly irregular. A simpler more triangular symbol like 44/54 would be better.

The background image looks sort of fuzzy to me, like the hex grid was imposed over something that's out of focus. It might be the bright blue border, or the shadow, or the combination of the two.

The map colors overall are quite intense and are kind of fatiguing to look at for a few minutes let alone over hours of play. If you are trying to mimic the 44/54 release I would go with more subdued colors. Washed out or desaturated or whatever the term is.

Interested to see how this progresses.
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Bruce Murphy
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Wiyum wrote:

thepackrat wrote:
I don't understand the need for a distracting fade around city circles.

I think it makes them pop, and I don't believe them to be distracting. Not necessary, sure. But if they're actually detrimental, I'm actively seeking to understand the argument.


Everything which leads the eye away from following the track routes is a distraction from what the game is actually about. Whether subtle fades, or blobby background textures, everything that distracts from the key core game is a tradeoff you don't have to make.

The game is never played looking at an individual tile, but instead with a large mass of them. This is why the mayfair track is so crazy-awful.

Quote:

Incidentally, I'm also trying to find a reliable source for proper orientation of numbered tiles. I know this is of concern to some, so I want to get it right. The tile manifest at the end of the rules will be my guide unless I find something better. The (inaccurate) manifest at 18xx.net doesn't always agree with the rules manifest, and the 1889-specific tiles are not included in the database at 18xx.info . I'd be happy if someone had another source for me to check against.


You could do much worse than following ps18xx since that's often a resoruce used by pbem folks.

Quote:

thepackrat wrote:
What does the blobby mountain picture add that a clearer symbol would not?

Visual interest and a stronger sense of place. Elements, I should say, that I don't think trump usability or legibility. So to turn your question around, does the "blobby mountain picture" make it more difficult for you to identify which hexes are mountain hexes than a triangle would?

No, I can definitely tell that there's something there, but I strongly reject that the mountain picture should tear my eyes away from following track that goes past it. They simply aren't that important. In case anyone suggests it, they also shouldn't have little 3D scale models of the actual mountains with flashing aircraft warning lights.

As others have pointed out, the colours are likely too dark as well, but that's down the list.

B>
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J C Lawrence
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Wiyum wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Fades, particularly radial fades, do not help.


So I've seen you say before. Which element do you find potentially (or certainly) problematic?


All the fades, without exception. As Bruce notes, track is not viewed in terms of individual tiles, but as a gestalt of many tiles together on the map. Radial fades make that mass of tiles visually "bumpy" as it lumps over from fade to fade to fade rather than being a single monotone background with strikingly distinct track lines across it (the actual important bit).

Quote:
1. The shadow added to the cities (I think it makes them pop in a useful and non-distracting way; I'm prepared to hear contrary argument)


I see absolutely no value in them "popping". They already have a big and clearly distinct white circle. One of the things that the 18xx do well in general is to not emphasize some information over other information. Instead the presentation is flat, all the data more or less at the same visual level (and I generally push for increasing that information flatness) -- which rather helps and eases play.

Quote:
2. The glow around the City/Town names (which certainly aids readability against dark backgrounds)


Except that the town names have essentially no value except for identifying that some tiles are specific to some locations. Except for that detail, the town names are non-functional -- a letter code would do as well.

Quote:
3. The layers I used on the coastline (which oughtn't affect gameplay, I'd think)


Shrug. I'd be happier of the sea and land had the same colour density, and specifically if the hex edges and the hexagons as singular distinct shapes were equally distinct everywhere on the board.

Quote:
4. The only true radial gradient, the likely-controversial color spots on cities, an element lifted from 1844/1854


Yeah, that was regrettable. Its a visual flourish that adds seeming information but actually means nothing and does nothing while suggesting that it is actually significant.
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Will Beckley
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clearclaw wrote:
I'd be happier ... specifically if the hex edges and the hexagons as singular distinct shapes were equally distinct everywhere on the board.

I follow and appreciate the rest of your points (that goes for everyone so far; keep it coming), but I'm not following this. Could you clarify a bit what needs correction?
 
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Will Beckley
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Thanks everyone for your feedback so far. I especially appreciate those that took the extra time to explain their reasoning, and I am giving due consideration to everything that is said.

I've made a round of revisions to the map. Not nearly all of them that I intend to make, but a good handful of them. Most notably I've revised the color palette, and I'd appreciate feedback on how I'm doing in that department (as it will affect the revisions done on the tiles as well).

Thanks again, and as ever, keep it coming.

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J C Lawrence
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Wiyum wrote:
Most notably I've revised the color palette, and I'd appreciate feedback on how I'm doing in that department (as it will affect the revisions done on the tiles as well).


Making the interiors of the hexes that overlap sea a different colour is a marked improvement and a step toward what I mentioned above. I suggest going further with an eye to making the map a background effect such that the hexes are the most clearly marked and visible element of the board.
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Tim Koppang
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I will say that one thing I like about the map is that you show a bit of the surrounding geography. That's the type of flourish that, at least for me, adds a bit of thematic context without distracting from the board.
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J C Lawrence
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As a comparable this is one of the areas that I think the political 18EU map handles notably badly:



18NY does, ehh, Okay:



I did not do well for 1843:



And 1842 does surprisingly well given all its other problems:



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Will Beckley
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clearclaw wrote:
Making the interiors of the hexes that overlap sea a different colour is a marked improvement and a step toward what I mentioned above. I suggest going further with an eye to making the map a background effect such that the hexes are the most clearly marked and visible element of the board.


Far enough?

 
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J C Lawrence
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It is almost painfully bright and saturated. While I'm not specifically fond of this colour pallette, it heads in the direction I'd go (and I need to be doing other things than digging through colour palettes right now):



More broadly, I suggest using Paletton.
 
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Roel van der Hoorn
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Wiyum wrote:


* Why is Muroto purple instead of grey?
* What do the colored blurs in the white circles do?
* Increase the size of the anchor symbols.
* The blue colored costs for tile placements are not visible enough.
* The font used for the costs for tile placements is too flat. It looks squished and is therefore hard to read. I suggest using a font that has a higher line-height.
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Gary Franczyk
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thepackrat wrote:
In case anyone suggests it, they also shouldn't have little 3D scale models of the actual mountains with flashing aircraft warning lights.

As others have pointed out, the colours are likely too dark as well, but that's down the list.




Plastic minis for 18xx!!! But it's dripping with theme!
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Dave Berry
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It's off topic, but I like the political 18EU map. I'm used to seeing maps of Europe with the countries in different colours, so this one fits right in.
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Alex Mauer
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claudermilk wrote:
Keep in mind I'm an 18XX noob, so do not have the strongly-held preference for the super spare graphics common.

I agree with the criticism on the inner fade on the cities--those color spot are distracting & just don't look good IMHO. The outer fade is subtle and does help pop them--I like that. The background color texture is not needed & makes the tile look a bit muddy. The gray hexes on the map look more purple on my monitor. I'd also like to see slightly larger income numbers on the city tiles.

I'm also not a fan of the mountain image chosen.


I'm in the same position (relative 18xx noob) and this pretty well covers my opinions. I really dislike the inner fade on the cities (latest map seems to remove some of these but not all). I don't mind the background texture on tiles at all, though it wouldn't hurt to be even more subtle.
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Chris Laudermilk
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It's getting better.

On the map, I agree with the previous comments:
* Lighten up the color palette. It's still too saturated for an 18XX game.
* Lose all the inner fades on the cities--they are distracting.
* The cost notations are hard to read. Needs to be larger, more bold.
* Gray hexes still look purple.
* Mountain image still distracting.

Overall I like the way you are going & second the comment that the surrounding geography is nice and does not detract from the overall presentation.

BTW, JC, I happen to like your treatment on the 1843 map.
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JR
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I like the new colours. The greys look better. Reds are nice. Still all the colours are just too strong. They need to be reduced in intensity, IMO. Very nice treatment otherwise.

I also agree with an earlier comment that the mountain symbols could be improved. I am sure that as someone trying to do a graphical redesign you are probably reluctant to re-use elements already widely adopted, but many such things became the norm because of trial and error and the experience of thousands.
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Will Beckley
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Here's my latest, still plugging away at it. I'm growing very happy with where it is at; there likely won't be any further changes to the color.

And before it gets mentioned again, I am going to be revisiting the mountains, I just haven't done so yet.

I'd like to thank everyone again for all of the feedback. This has gone in directions I'd never have reached on my own, that I like quite a bit more than where it was heading. So thanks for that and keep it coming.

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